What’s your selling sentence?

What’s your Selling Sentence? If you have a business, you need a selling sentence.

Sometimes called the Defining Sentence or the Secondary Statement, the Selling Sentence is the group of words that clarify and refine the nature of your business when seen or heard with the name or logo of your business. You tell ‘em what you do for them’ with your Selling Sentence.

The Selling Sentence clearly differentiates your business in the eyes of your current and potential customers or clients. “When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight” reinforces the FedEx brand.

McDonald’s has used Selling Sentences for individual products. “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun”

Selling Sentences are similar to Unique Selling Propositions, or USPs. But they differ because that they are more focused and are presented in one sentence or less. USPs can be much longer, resembling a mission statement.

Develop your own Selling Sentence to be displayed under the business name or logo. If it won’t fit there, it is too long. The Selling Sentence should appear in the same spot every time the name of the business or logo is displayed: newspaper ads, store signs, yellow pages, business cards. Everywhere the logo goes, so goes the Selling Sentence.

Look at the big boys. Lots of Selling Sentences, some short enough to be called Selling Statements. All fit under the business name.

A Selling Sentence is extremely important if your business name does not reflect on the nature of the business or the product. FedEx was shortened from Federal Express, both of which mildly suggest package handling. Since the Selling Sentence accompanied all references, we all know FedEx is a package delivery service.

Murray’s Plumbing would not need a Selling Sentence to clarify the nature of the business, but rather one to set it apart from hundreds of competitors.

Murray’s Plumbing
We show up on time and smell
good or your don’t pay!

Now Murray and his people must maintain the Selling Sentence by keeping the promise. FedEx says over 99% of packages get there overnight. The Selling Sentence should not change unless you intend to re-brand the business, so get it right from the get-go.

Convene your own brain trust of employees and friends and peers for a free association session. List what can be said about your business in one sentence. Emphasize your biggest customer benefit.

Write them all down, no matter how goofy. With the group, trim the list to 10 before you bring out the refreshments. Sleep on it and make a final decision the next morning.

Papa Fred’s Car Wash
Satisfaction Guaranteed
DOUBLE your dirt back

Ralph’s Refuse
Our Business is Picking Up

Don’t tell ’em what you do. Tell them what you do for them.

For more about business get my article “What Does Your Business Card Say?” Send a blank eMail to the

About the author
©2004 BIG Mike McDaniel, Professional Speaker and Former Major Market TV News Anchor. The BIG Ideas Group helps small business grow with consulting, seminars, resource guides and sales training. visit

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